From the Starting an Online Business series...
Lynn Urback asks: Where does one even get an idea for an online business. It’s obvious to see all the benefits of working from home, extra income, etc.. but, where can one get help coming up with an idea?
There are a variety of ways to make money online. There are hot markets and one-hit-wonders, and then there are stable long-term online business ideas. I prefer the latter, though it should be pointed out that both are options.
Online business ideas are a dime a dozen, and limited only by the creativity of the person coming up with the idea.
The cool thing about this whole "make money online" thing is that we are pioneers. This is a first gen opportunity, and collectively we are all paving the way for future generations.
Back in the 90's there were no molds. The initial Internet Marketers basically took offline business and marketing and looked at ways to do those same things on the internet. The first decade saw much testing and tweaking, and many online business ideas rise and fall.
Those of us who were online in 1996, 97 or 98 didnt search for a blueprint or model that we could follow to the letter. We jumped on board and tried things out, found things that worked, and then followed the market trends year after year from that point forward.
The industry has continued to change and evolve over the years. Along the way there have been a lot of opportunities to make money online. For example, eBay was really hot for awhile. I partnered up with a couple of Power Sellers during those years and we were selling $20k plus consistently every month in nickel & dime merchandise.
When PayPal first launched they offered a clean $10 referral fee for new account sign-ups. I made thousands during that short period. It used to be that you could clear an easy $10k/month using direct affiliate links on Google Adwords too - and a lot of us did that until it fizzled out (ie Google updated their policies & tightened their algorithms).
Just to make my point that there is no end to the ways you can make money online, but sometimes there's an end to the way.
When it comes to online business ideas though, you want to choose something that is not tied to a method or a current trend, but rather to a market or a topic that you can stick with long-term.
It seems there is some confusion between choosing a niche, working a specific strategy, and considering real online business ideas. So I thought the point was worth clarifying in detail.
A true online business idea:
- won't be dependent on how you market it.
- won't depend on anyone else's business model.
- can stand the test of time.
A "niche" is not the same thing as an online business. Not the way it is generally described or taught, at least. But locating niches and creating profitable niche websites, and then outsourcing the management or selling them off - that's an online business idea.
Of course, choosing a niche that you feel passionate about to invest yourself in long-term could turn into a sweet online business.
Take a look around you at some of the sites you frequent, or some of the online business models that intrique you. Study websites or market leaders that are obviously successful. Look at them all collectively, and see if you can find any common characteristics.
Dont just jump on board at any promising method or idea that someone else passes along to you. Your online business idea needs to be something you'll really enjoy working on, and can get into. Take some time to consider what you have and what you know, how you feel, and most importantly: how you want to spend the majority of your time.
Your online business idea needs to be an idea you can turn into a career. And that's different from just "making money online".
Also See: Starting a Free Online Business
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